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Vol. LXIII, No. 6
March 18, 2011

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Coleman Named First Permanent NIMHD Scientific Director
Dr. William G. Coleman, Jr.

Dr. William G. Coleman, Jr., has been appointed first permanent scientific director of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. He will lead the institute’s recently established Intramural Research Program, which promotes research focused on understanding the factors that cause health disparities, including the linkage between biological and non-biological pathways to health disparities.

NIMHD’s IRP will also develop methods and interventions to address these disparities using a community-campus system approach. The program is also geared towards increasing the pool of those conducting research on health disparities including the number of investigators from health disparity populations within the NIH intramural research program.

“To have an experienced scientist like Dr. Coleman, who has a long-standing track record of achievement within the scientific community, to lead our IRP so that we can intensify our health disparities research work, is truly exhilarating,” said NIMHD director Dr. John Ruffin.

Coleman has been at NIH since 1974. During his extensive career here, he has made seminal contributions to the elucidation of lipopolysaccharide biosynthesis, intrinsic gramnegative bacteria antibiotic resistance and the pathogenic mechanisms of Helicobacter pylori. In addition to conducting research, he has mentored an impressive cadre of students, postdoctoral fellows and high school science teachers. Many have assumed leadership positions in medical schools and hospitals throughout the nation. He received his Ph.D. in molecular biology from Purdue University.

“Bill Coleman is an innovative and productive scientist whose work on Helicobacter pylori has been of the highest quality,” said NIH deputy director for intramural research Dr. Michael Gottesman. “He is highly regarded for his skill as a mentor and his interest in training and education at the NIH. He will be a superb leader and organizer of a unique intramural program.”

Currently, Coleman is developing research programs that include basic science, social, behavioral and clinical approaches to address disparities in health in underserved communities in this country. As a senior investigator, he will continue his research on understanding the mechanisms of bacterial pathogenesis, specifically as they relate to ulcer disease and other bacterial infections in the Laboratory of Biochemistry and Genetics at NIDDK.

“I am honored and humbled by this appointment,” Coleman said. “The challenges are immense, but I am heartened by the partnership and commitment of the NIH to address this important issue. A primary emphasis of the NIMHD intramural research program will be the development of mentorship programs, which are critical to the development of a diverse workforce.”

The NIMHD IRP fosters collaborations with other NIH institutes and centers, particularly through its signature career development program, Disparities Research Education Advancing our Mission (DREAM). The 5-year program offers 2 years of career development opportunity for investigators to hone solid research skills within NIH’s IRP. The other 3 years of the program are spent in an extramural venue such as the candidate’s originating institution or organization, another academic setting or a health disparity community setting. The extramural phase is intended to facilitate the transition to independence as a researcher. To be eligible for DREAM, candidates must be graduates or scholars nearing completion of their tenure in the NIMHD Loan Repayment Program. Candidates are placed in the laboratories of other ICs, depending on area of interest.—Briant Coleman and Kester Williams NIHRecord Icon

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